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Free Download: A Closer Look at Roubo’s Workshop

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - 3 hours 26 min ago

Are you a little bit obsessed with the workshop in Roubo’s Plate 11? Do you need a new poster for your shop or new wallpaper for your computer screen or tablet? Do you really, really want to see the wood shavings in the foreground and all the stuff leaning against the back wall?

Here’s a higher resolution scan of the workshop for your viewing pleasure: Atelier Roubo

Suzanne Ellison

P.S. My test rabbit (thanks, KP) used the scan for wallpaper on his PC and was very happy.

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

Dealings in Different Eras

Paul Sellers - 5 hours 56 sec ago

Saturday 25th March 2017 This past week I was reflecting on some realities with regards to buying specialist tools and equipment. Hard to imagine, but I do recall walking with a friend in Texas back in 1987 and discussing how the worldwide web would be a place to buy and sell, exchange ideas and become …

Read the full post Dealings in Different Eras on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Picture This CVI

Pegs and 'Tails - 7 hours 6 min ago
When preparing another post recently, I noticed something a little peculiar about this rather glorious chest of drawers (fig. 1). Study figures 1, 2 & 3 for the foible before scrolling down to figure 4. Fig. 1. “George II mahogany … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Insomnia – the Greatest Design Drug

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - 7 hours 48 min ago

For the last 20 odd years I have benefited from regular bouts of insomnia. When they happen, I’ll wake about 4 a.m., roll over and my head will spin with several conflicting images, usually relating to something on my workbench from the past, present or future. For years I tried to get back to sleep when this happened. When Lucy and I had children who were young, we needed every […]

The post Insomnia – the Greatest Design Drug appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Norris Plane in Action

David Barron Furniture - 8 hours 16 min ago

A short while ago a friend of mine was asking my advice about buying a Norris plane. The classic pre war model A5 was what he was looking for, but I persuaded him to go for the Norris A50 instead. It cost him a lot less and worked a dream. He is very pleased.

Here is the Norris A50 that I use. It required the minimum of sole flattening as there was a dip behind the mouth, see the darker area on the sole. I could have continued lapping to remove this but it wouldn't have made any difference to performance.
The mouth (the tiny dark area) is just a sliver, enough to let a reasonable shaving through.

Although this was a budget model by Norris, costing about half of the A5 in the 1920's, it is actually more stable as the iron rests on the metal casting rather than the rosewood infill. With the iron removed (below) you can see the casting with the wooden infill set back slightly so it plays no part in supporting the blade.
The other thing I like is the handle is set very low down, giving a better 'feel' in use.

Of course with a sharpened blade it works a treat....

.... even on this curly English walnut.

Categories: Hand Tools

Eyes Wide Open

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - 10 hours 4 min ago


My job at Lost Art Press is basically this: wrangling content. I read it, edit it, listen to it, transcribe it, write it, find it, scan it, organize it, cut it, extrapolate it, link to it, contract it and share it. And through this wrangling, no matter the author or topic, universal themes emerge.

Often an 8-5 occupation, by nature of design, is one of repetition. And perhaps that’s part of the appeal of woodworking, both as an avocation and vocation—it requires constant learning, no matter the skill level. There’s always more to learn, new paths to take, ways to improve. There’s a scholarly aspect to it, and always the feeling of the possibility of a new discovery, with only the turn of the page or an afternoon at the bench.

And so I see the theme of lifelong learning emerge, over and over, from masters of the craft, in both written and vocal form.

In many ways it’s why Lost Art Press exists—as well as the many magazines, books, forums, guilds, classes, schools and DVDs that delve into the intricacies of woodworking.

There’s always more to know.

Here are some quotes, both formally written and in the form of snippets of conversation, that I’ve gathered during my more recent content wrangling from a few masters of the craft who still, to this day (or did, until they died) foster a love of learning.

“It’s interesting to speculate as to exactly when in one’s career one writes a book. I wrote ‘Welsh Stick Chairs’ three years ago, but I am still on the learning curve, and I’ve moved on. In theory, I suppose when one is 99, lying on the death bed, then you write about what you’ve learnt. No. I think the important thing to remember is that not all information in print is law, even if you don’t agree with what you read, it should stimulate thought.”  —John Brown, Good Woodworking, 1994

“I’ve mainly been doing sculptures and some new chair stuff. I’ve had a great time and want to continue the ball rolling. I also want to further my chairmaking so when I get home I don’t feel I’ve done nothing in terms of my main craft. So I’ve pursued a couple different [ideas], and I’ll see how these things develop and hopefully [they’ll] become a part of what I do.”  —Peter Galbert, on life as a resident artist, 2016

“I’ve often said, only sort of whimsically, if you had to distill down my job it would say, ‘Be productively curious.’ I was productively curious.”  —Don Williams, on his almost three decades as Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institute, 2017

“For me, it’s really just keeping engaged, keeping really interested into what’s going on because we can never completely know it. And I hate and love that at the same time. I love being in the position of not knowing but maybe going to find out. And so it’s basically about keeping my eyes open and not taking myself too seriously, because nobody else does. And that’s really it. Not taking things personally in terms of interpreting the world as being against me or for me or any of that. I’m just here observing slowly, with my eyes as wide open as possible.”  —Jim Tolpin, 2017

“Neither of us are trained designers, bur rather experienced builders with a healthy curiosity. We both began experimenting with the practices and suggestions laid out in the period design guides. We set aside tape measures and began using dividers. We opted to use geometry to trace layouts, even when precision tools were easier and more convenient. Our goals were to learn to see, and to discover if the tradition might reveal relevant information for today’s builder.” —George R. Walker, in his preface to “By Hand & Eye,” May 28, 2012

“There is a point where a craft becomes an art, and he can find enough to learn about woodwork as an art to last him for a lifetime.” —Charles H. Hayward, “Chips from the Chisel,” The Woodworker, 1936

— Kara Gebhart Uhl

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

A Thoughtful Change

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - 10 hours 30 min ago

I land all over the bell curve in a large number of my life's pursuits, but one thing I am exceedingly good at is monogamy. I've been married for closing in on a quarter century. My pickup had close to 300,000 miles on it, and typically once I find a brand of something I like, from ketchup to underwear, I will go far out of my way to buy that brand. 

Until someone sells the brand and it changes . . . it almost always changes for the worse. I hate that. But I guess that figures into my monogamy pathology too. 

When I heard Chris Schwarz preach the concept of "Sharpening Monogamy" I was all in. The idea that your sharpening gets better, regardless of media, simply by sticking with one system works for me. The repetition allows you to refine your process and achieve good and repeatable results. In the end a consistent result is probably the most important and undebatable aspect of sharpening there is.

For a long time I've been sharpening using grades of automotive sand paper. It's a great place to start sharpening. It has a low buy in price and you can create excellent, repeatable results and for a long time that's what I've stuck with. I use 6 grades of paper 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit, I sharpen a bevel straight up in an eclipse style jig. No micro bevels. If the blade doesn't fit in the jig - I freehand it. I also lightly use David Charlesworth Ruler Trick

I try not to make sharpening precious. It's a simple maintenance task to pass through and get back to work. However, because no relationship is perfect there are things I dislike about the system. 

First, even though it's a cheap initial buy into good sharpening results, overtime it will become the most expensive method out there. It's a slow death from a thousand paper cuts but I'm sure since I started using the system around 2010 I've spent enough to buy into most other systems and then some. 

Second, and the final deal breaker. All sharpening systems are inherently messy. Oil or water and steel slurry are part of the deal with stones. Sandpaper involves stinky spray adhesive, fine particles of steel dust that can become airborne and changing out the paper regularly. I use flat marble tiles as my substrate and over time I've gotten so tired of the process of peeling the old paper off, scraping the dirt and remaining adhesive off, then spraying and gluing down new. If your aren't meticulous all the way along the process the paper bubbles or wrinkles, even imperceptibly. As you're applying blade to abrasive, the corner of the steel will inadvertently catch those areas, then tear and lift up a triangle shaped m()th#r-fu@&er (so named in my shop). 

There is no good repair to these tears, even in a fresh sheet and you're back to either peeling, scraping and swearing or sharpening around the defect. Both are shitty options. 

A while ago I decided it was time to end the relationship, for the most part. Though it was the right decision, it was difficult to decide on a replacement. eventually I sat back and decided I've never been steered wrong by considering what my Grandpa would have done. He wouldn't have had a thousand waterstone and diamond infused plate options and twice as many voices proclaiming a better way. He's have gone to the local hardware store, bought an oil stone or two and some honing oil. Maybe polished the blade on a leather strop. 

Bingo. My answer. 

Yesterday the mailman delivered two new stones. Today I'll  go about making a dedicated tray to hold them steady in use, Then I'll start touching up a couple chisel and plane blades. There might be a small return learning curve as I learn a new partner's proclivities, but I'll figure it out. And it i take care of these stones, they'll probably take care of me until the day I can no longer pick up a tool. That's a comforting thought. 

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Some pages from (Shoshoku ehon) Katsushika shin hinagata, a book...

Giant Cypress - 10 hours 58 min ago

Some pages from (Shoshoku ehon) Katsushika shin hinagata, a book by Katsushika Hokusai, 1836. A Japanese plane, square, and sumitsubo, which is like a chalk line but with ink, can be seen in the top photo. The bottom photo shows a Japanese adze and a kick-butt mallet.

(Photos from the British Museum, where you can also find the rest of the book.)

Mastering the Cast Iron Stove

The Barn on White Run - 11 hours 1 min ago

Now that the last bluster of winter is in the rearview mirror, it was a pleasingly and comparatively mild winter, and spring is in the headlights (we hope) it’s time to reflect on the utility of my cast iron bi-fuel stove for the barn.  Finally, after three winters of trial-and-error I think I have it down to the point where it is the reliable workhorse heat source I had always hoped for.

To recap, the unit is a smallish British wood-and-coal stove probably of the 1970s vintage.  Though smaller than the cast iron fireplace insert for the cabin, it is considerably heavier (the barn stove weighs in at about 525 pounds) due to the need for a firebox that can handle both wood and coal.  I went on line to retrieve both the owner’s manual and to view youtube videos on the operations of such stoves. That was not the least bit helpful.  In fact, I believe the owner’s manual was written by people who eventually became computer software instruction manual writers; neither had any usefulness for the end user, being written only by and for someone who already possessed full mastery of the “information” contained therein.  Of course, it is possible that there is a contextual implication and perhaps those inculcated with the cultural norms of Britain are predisposed to operate such a device.

The stove is not located in the studio, it is in the basement directly underneath it.  Thus it requires a long, steady heat in order to get the warmth up to my work space.  Following the instructions on youtube served only to frustrate me, and I had to re-invent using this stove myself.  Once that was done the use of this heater became a pleasure.

Here is the routine I have devised after scores of attempts, and is one I find to provide steady and constant warmth to my work space.   A typical cycle for heating with the stove is 48 hours, by which I mean I can keep it running steadily but must clean  out the ashes and clinkers every other morning.  It usually requires 1-1/2 buckets’ worth of cleanout.

With the firebox emptied, the building of an effective heating fire can begin.

I  begin this process by laying down about a roughly 2″ layer of nut coal as the bed for the fire and the foundation for the roaring heat to come.

On top of the bed of coal I place a single firestarter.  If you are sharp-eyed with a good memory, you will recognize the firestarter as a piece of paper towel I used for the final filtering of our beeswax upstairs.  I use one new filter for each platter of molten wax, so I’ve got a good (if not excess) inventory of this aid.

Next comes the whole reclusive woodsman skill set in constructing the kindling/firewood conflagration.

Each layer of fuel gets more massive.

Finally the firebox is completely full of dried maple, locust, and oak awaiting a flame.

Then, the flame.

Once the flame is going, I close the left door completely and close the right door to about 1″ opening to maximize the air flow.

10-15 minutes later I check back on the fire to make sure it is doing what I want it to be doing.

If going well, and a this point of my experience it always is, I place the iron fences at the front of the firebox to allow “banking” of the coal throughout the day.

Within a half hour the stove pipe is plenty hot, and upstairs it radiates heat into the shop.

From this point on I add fuel to the fire every hour or so until early afternoon.  At the 1-hour point I add about three pieces of firewood along with three scoops of coal, at the 2-hour mark two pieces and four scoops, at 3 hours one piece and five or six scoops, and just after lunch another half dozen scoops of coal with no new firewood.  I close the doors both firmly and make sure the flues are wide open (the gates are right behind the ceramic panels in the doors) and can usually hear whistling sound of the combustion air being drawn through.

As I wrap up the day at 6PM I pack the firebox as full as I can with coal, close the doors and tighten the latch, and close the gates halfway.  Next morning when I arrive in the shop at about 8.30, the pace is still toasty warm and the fire is glowing red.  I do a partial clean-out of the firebox by agitating the movable grates and emptying the ash drawer underneath, and spend the second day just shoveling in coal every few hours.

On even the coldest day of the winter — temps in the teens and nearly gale force winds — the workshop space was a cozy 64 degrees all day long (cozy because I am dressed for winter, after all).  On such a day I will use 1-1/2 50-pound bags of nut coal, on a milder day 3/4-1 bag will suffice.

While I am not anxiously awaiting the next winter, I now know I can keep my own workspace cozy and amenable, and I still get to look out at the mountains any time I want.



A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing

Highland Woodworking - 11 hours 36 min ago

It can take just one or two successful tries at spray finishing to get why spraying is a great choice everywhere from the home shop to the industrial factory floor. Spray finishing is quite simply a fast, efficient and reliable way to lay down smooth, uniform coatings that adhere well, dry predictably, and require minimal further processing. It also turns out that spraying is easy to learn and not very hard to do well.

Take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing to learn more and then try it out yourself!

Click here to read

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Finishing appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Fan bird carving course in Co Durham

Steve Tomlin Crafts - 15 hours 51 min ago
A day carving and folding wood to make fan birds. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

had a senior moment.......

Accidental Woodworker - 18 hours 13 min ago
Some parts for my planes that I ordered came in today.  I still have a #4 chipbreaker for a Stanley iron that I'm waiting on but it is something that I can wait for. I ordered a chipbreaker from Lie Nielsen but I am still waiting for that 10 days later. That sent all the tracking info to my wife's email and since she hadn't ordered anything from LN, she deleted it. She couldn't find it in her trash so I'll have to call them and find out where it's at.

I bought them all
I emailed Bill Rittner and asked if he made the chipbreaker screws. That answer was no, but he said he had some he would sell. I bought two from him thinking I was golden. Turns out I lost two somehow, somewhere. I think they fell off the sharpening bench and got dumped with the shavings when I swept the deck. I noticed this seller on ebay offering chipbreaker screws and I bought all 5 he had for sale.

What surprised me about both sellers, was how clean the screws were. I usually get parts like this all rusty and ratty looking. These are all rust free and shiny. The slots aren't mangled and the screws all have good looking, well defined threads.

these 3 are all set now
I have four of the chipbreaker screws left. I need one more for the #4 chipbreaker in the mail and I'll have 3 left for spares.

everything has set up
I clamped the spreader at the bottom front because the bottom here was toeing outwards. I did this to keep it where it should be as the back brace set up.

removed most of the proud with the chisel - I then planed it flush
flushed the walnut to the bottom

checked my desk stock
Both of these are still flat and straight. I still don't know what the one on the right is made of. It kind of looks like ramin wood. I flipped the two so the opposite side was facing out for the next 24 hours.

lightweight but sufficient
This isn't going to be moved and it is plenty strong enough to support a monitor. I was thinking about putting a stretcher at the bottom front.

3/4" screw
I need some 3/4" screws to fasten the the top brace to the top plywood. These have a washer as part of the screw head.

ugly even if they won't be seen
found a lot of 3/4" screws
I didn't realize that I had so many screws in this size. I'll be using the oval head ones vice the flat heads.

found a piece of poplar long enough
sawing 1/2 x 1/2 notches
my senior moment
I sawed the notches on the wrong side. I can't believe that I didn't notice it and sawed it out. On a bright note, I got a snug fit on both sides.

I will have to use a wide piece after I fix this
I wanted to use walnut here
The notch I made to even it up on both sides ended up being 2". I would like to use walnut here to match the edge banding I did. This piece is too small - I can't saw it in two and glue it together to get the required width and length.

padauk is another choice
I can't get the walnut to work so I will use poplar. I'm not wasting padauk on something like this. I'll do that tomorrow because the lights are going dark now.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a folivore?
answer - an animal that eats leaves

Handworks 2017 Countdown – 52 Days to Go

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 4:10pm

Over the next six weeks I will be blogging about Handworks 2017 a lot, or at least my preparations for it to be sure.  I think we are at T-minus 52 Days before departure.

Over the winter Mrs. Barn prepared two full cases of packaged beeswax in anticipation of the event.  If all goes well I will not bring any back home.    One thing down, a bazillion to go.

I intend to demonstrate wax and shellac finishing during the event, so come by and say “Hi.”  I’ll be in one of the center aisle booths at the Festhall.

When a Tenon Snaps

Paul Sellers - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:26pm

Saturday 25th March 2017 So what do you do if a tenon snaps off when you least expect it? Such things happen, after all, and you have already invested good time in the buying and milling wood, forming tenons and even shaping the wood for its place in the whole. I have had it happen …

Read the full post When a Tenon Snaps on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hello Perdix, You Old Friend

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:37am


Today Narayan Nayar and I took the train to Pompeii to look at a fresco that features Perdix, a Roman workbench and some adult content suitable for Cinemax. (“Oh my, I don’t think I have enough money for this pizza.” Cue the brown chicken, brown cow soundtrack.)

As we got off the train, my heart was heavy with dread. Yesterday, our visit to Herculaneum blew my mind but was disappointing in one small way: The House of the Deer was closed that day to visitors. The House of Deer had once housed a woodworking fresco that has since been removed and has since deteriorated. So all I was going to get to see was the hole in the wall where the fresco had been.

But still.

So as I got off the train this morning, I fretted: What if the House of the Vettii is closed? After a not-quick lunch that involved togas (don’t ask), Narayan and I made a beeline to the House of the Vettii. And as I feared, its gate was locked. The structure is in the midst of a renovation and was covered in tarps and scaffolding.

I peered through the gate and saw someone moving down a hallway inside. He didn’t look like a worker. He looked like a tourist. Then I saw another tourist.


We quickly figured out that a side entrance was open and they were allowing tourists into a small section of the house. I rushed into that entryway and waved hello to Priapus. After years of studying the map of this house I knew exactly where to go. I scooted past a gaggle of kids on spring break and into the room with the fresco I’ve been eager to see for too long.

It’s a miracle this fresco has survived – not just the eruption of Vesuvius but also the looters and custodian that decided (on behalf of Charles III) which images to keep and which ones to destroy. (Why destroy a fresco? According to the Archaeological Museum of Naples, many were destroyed so they didn’t get into the hands of “foreigners or imitators.”) The royal collection preferred figurative scenes or ones with winged figures. For some reason, this one stayed in place and has managed to survive.


Narayan spent the next 40 minutes photographing the fresco in detail. The photos in this blog entry are mere snapshots I took with my Canon G15. His images will be spectacular.

OK, enough babbling. I need some pizza. Thank goodness they’re only about 4 Euro here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Crisscross Solo Blems

Benchcrafted - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 9:33am

Just a heads up in case you're in the market for a Crisscross Solo and you're coming to Handworks.
We'll have a few blems available at the event for a discount price of $79. We usually don't have to offer blems or seconds because we usually catch them early on in the process. This time a few Crisscross arms made it all the way through powder coating. Here's the issue with these. During the casting process the moulds get transported from the mould-making area to the pouring deck and every now and then a mould gets jarred and makes the lines in the castings you see above. It's completely cosmetic. The arms function as intended. A few of the arms got the royal treatment at the powder coaters as well. The middle one above shows the result. You may need to run a file or drill bit through the holes to get the pins to pass. These will be priced at $79 and are available only at Handworks. If we have leftovers, we'll post them here for sale after all the hubbub is over.
Categories: Hand Tools

a few new spoons for sale, March 27 2017

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:08am

I’ve been slowly working my way through a pile of cherry spoon wood. All but one or two of this batch is from the same tree. And most all are crooks, bent/curved sections which lend the spoons their shape.

A couple of these got picked by people on a waiting list for spoons. I never intended there to be such a thing, but sometimes I get requests between postings of spoons for sale.

spoons listed are here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2017/  or at the top of the menu on the blog’s front page. Leave a comment here (the page for some reason doesn’t accept comments…) if you’d like to order a spoon. Paypal is the easiest way, or you can send a check. Let me know which payment method you prefer. The price  includes shipping in the US, otherwise, we’ll calculate some additional shipping costs.

All the spoons are finished with food-safe flax oil. If for some reason, anyone is not happy with their spoon, just contact me & we can do a return/refund.

thanks as always,


Welcome, Gentles All

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 7:31am

Below is an advance of my editor’s note from the May/June 2017 issue (which mails to subscribers April 12 and is on newsstands April 25). I want everyone – subscriber or no – to know that we welcome queries from any and all woodworkers, and that I’d love to see more diversity in our pages. But it’s a two-way street. I’m about to break a self-imposed rule about keeping “politics” […]

The post Welcome, Gentles All appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

changed lanes......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:52am
I was working on the new bookshelf project but I put on the turn signal and made a lane change. I will work on the bookshelf as I can but my main impetus now is finishing the stand up desk for work. I did a couple of days standing up and I couldn't believe the difference when I went home. My butt cheeks didn't hurt and my metal hip side felt a bazillion percent better.

I nixed getting the VA supplied stand up desk version because it won't work for me. It will elevate the monitor and keyboard/mouse up and down but that is it. There is no provision for working on paperwork at the same time at an elevated position. If all I was doing was computer work this would work. But over half of what I do doing the day is dealing with paperwork first and then feeding all that into the scanner and onto the computer.

oh dark thirty sunday morning
I didn't have high hopes that this would be flat.

still bowed
This is an improvement of what it was the previous day. I could attempt to glue and screw a base to this that would also act as a strong back and pull it flat. Since this is/was going to be my stand up desk, I need it to be flat from the git go. I also want a warm and fuzzy that it will stay that way too.

This will go into the wood pile to be used from something else. For the desk it's use is toast and I'll buy another 2x4 sheet of plywood.

monitor base frames
Out of the clamps and they are laying flat on each other. No twist and no rocking from either one. I did these on the tablesaw mostly because I want to get this done as quickly as I can. I know that I couldn't make a bridle joint this small by hand nor as quickly as I did on the tablesaw. I won't be using bridle joinery on the big desk. For that I will most likely use mortise and tenon.

blurry pic of a proud tenon
I didn't take this into account when I made the frame. I cleaned up the insides with a plane before I glued it up. They are sticking up about a 32nd strong and they would make a difference if I was making this frame a specific size .

possible big desk base stock
I squared this stock up over a year ago for what I don't remember. There is more than enough stock to make the base ends. I just need stock for the long rails.

flushed and cleaned up the frames

the monitor base top
The first two pieces of walnut have set up and I sawed off most of the overhang. I don't want to accidentally break them off while I glue on the last two pieces.

trimming the first two pieces flush
The two pieces of walnut are proud on both sides of the plywood. If do one side like this I could possibly break off the other side in a way that would make me very unhappy.

not a problem now
I put the cauls I used to glue the walnut on under the plywood. They elevated  the walnut clear of the bench on the opposite side.

cutting and fitting the last two walnut strips
I squared up one end and marked the length directly off the plywood. Since this is so thin I did all the cutting with this marking knife.

quick, easy, and I got a clean edge
I repeatedly scored the strip of walnut and leaving the square in place, I snapped off the waste. I still kept the square there and used the marking knife to clean up the snapped off end.

the proposed bracing
The bottom poplar piece I am changing to 1/2" plywood so I don't have to deal with expansion and contraction from solid wood. The back brace will stay poplar and I'll dovetail that.

two pieces of 3/4" plywood
At 0755 I was in the parking lot of Home Depot sipping a Starbucks waiting for it to open. I bought two pieces of 2'x4' by 3/4" thick plywood panels. The one on the left is birch plywood and the right one was $6 cheaper and I don't have clue as to what it is.

I went through every single piece of both of these plywood bins and I only found one flat and straight one in each. The one I bought yesterday came from Lowes and I don't remember if I checked it for being flat. I was more interested in getting a nice grain pattern. I got that but a pretzel for a board.

sticker plywood?
I'm real antsy to get going on this but I have to be patient. I will let this sticker here for a few days and see if I still have flat stock. In the interim I can finish up the monitor stand which I am going to apply a finish to. After I snapped this pic I separated these two.

the top brace details
I thought first of doing a 1/2 lapped, stopped rabbet here. They would hold the sides together and keep them from toeing here. But I didn't like the small area contact between the brace and the sides. Skipped that and I am going with a through dado that I'll glue and screw the plywood into it and get the same result. The plywood ends will be visible in the finished joint so I will edge band them first with walnut.

ends banded
I will apply the walnut to the long edges after I have the brace glued and screwed in place.

flush fit on the through dado
labeled the bottom
It is way too easy to become confused as to which side is up or down. And I need big letters because I have been known to ignore smaller penciled markings.

wee bit off on this side
I sawed inside of the lines because I wanted this to be a snug fit. I had planned on planing the plywood to fit the dadoes but I didn't have to do that on either side. On this side I did one saw cut leaving the line like I was supposed to. On the other side of the cut, I sawed right on the line.

walnut veneer
I dug this out of my pizza box of veneer. I can saw a small strip and use it fill the gaps.

I have a boatload of planes
Why can't I use one of them and make my own veneer to fill the gaps? That is what I did. I planed up 6 strips of varying thicknesses by adjusting the depth of the iron. Each of them is about 4 inches long and conveniently curled up.

it worked
 I got the gap closed up and a snug fit. Self supporting and this is ready to glue up.

rounding over the corners on the monitor top
the 3rd one
This is the third sliver I popped up sanding the the walnut. I am gluing it back down like I did on the other two with this glue. I put some blue tape on it and set it aside to set up.

I had striped walnut
I could see every place where I used the blue tape on this walnut. I wiped down all 4 sides with mineral spirits to remove any of the residue. After that I scraped them down to make sure I got all of the residue.

removing glue with a carbide scraper
The brace is glued and screwed in place so I can get on with the build. I don't like using a chisel to remove dried glue. I tend to dig in when I use it and I end up with divots. And you have to be extra careful dealing with the plywood because the face veneers are only 2 atoms thick. I like the control and finesse I seem to have with the carbide scraper.

marking for the brace
 In order to mark the brace, I need the frame legs to be square to the bottom. On this side they are leaning outboard and the opposite side they are toeing inboard.

now it's square
Now that it is square and in the final position, I can mark the shoulders on the back brace.

used a story stick
I don't like to use a ruler to mark two separate things the same.  I squared the line across the end and the story stick on the first one. I repeated that on the other side.

gauge stick
This is to help me saw the dovetails in the back. This is the same as the shoulder to shoulder length of the bottom brace.

kept things from dancing around as I sawed
I clamped this on the opposite side of the saw cut I was doing. It worked pretty good at keeping the ends stiff while I sawed.  Once I sawed one wall on both sides, I moved the brace to the sawn side and did the last two.

the moment of truth
too snug for me
I pulled this off and looked for any bruising was. I trimmed those areas and glued it up.

the last of the walnut trim pieces
The back brace is glued and clamped. The first of the two walnut pieces to be glued is going in.

left it proud on this side
I won't be able to trim any proud on the other side easily so I glued the strips on flush on that side. On this side I can plane it off end to end. And if I get a bit of tear out it will be hidden.

flush on this side

proud on this side
tight shoulders
The shoulders will be visible on this and I wanted them to be tight to the sides. I got that and the proud on this side I can chisel flush.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What were the first names used by Sir Arthur Doyle for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?
answer - Sherringford Holmes and Ormond Sacker

More Fun and Games!

The Furniture Record - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 9:14pm

Just when you think we know everything about gaming tables, more information surfaces. I was at the preview of a local auction house when I came across this rather chunky example:

Georgian Game Table 

DSC_6185 - Version 2

This lot has sold for $260.

Description:  19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak secondary, unusual dual hinged top with storage compartment, gate leg, cabriole legs with pad foot.

Most game tables have some style or elegance, not this one.The heavy apron and the graceless pad feet lack a pleasing aesthetic.

But that’s not why I called you here.

It is a four-legged table with the fourth leg being a traditional gate leg:


The hinged fourth/gate leg.

Note the sprung hinge on the right side. This is important.


The gate leg deployed.

The hinge is still sprung. Also note the screws on the lower table surface.


When you open the table, it’s round. Closed, it’s a thicker semi-circle. Geometry works.

DSC_6193 - Version 2

And here you can almost see the crack running 2/3 of the way across the table.

What caused the crack? The lower table section is hinged to the frame covering the storage below:


The storage below. This explains the chunky apron.


And here you see the crack and the hinge placement that keeps the opened table top from lying flat. Failure is always an option.

This isn’t the only design challenge. If one tries to access the storage area with the table closed, the sections stacked, when the sections are opened beyond around 30°, the table falls over. Empirically determined. The table is not very deep and when the weight is shifted too far to the back, bad things happen. If I recalled my vector analysis, I could calculate the tipping point.

I did not bid on this table.

On a more positive note, I found two examples of another method of table support. I reveal to you the extension gaming table:


A small extension table.


And here are the extension rails. Note the dowel pins.

I found the above at the Raleigh Antiques Extravaganza.

A few hours later I found this one at a Raleigh consignment shop:


Another extension game table. Two in on day after never seeing one before.


A view from above. The leg is not one piece but a glue-up.


The obligatory front view.

On the back rail was this label:


I always enjoy finding labels.

The dealer believes that these tables are from the 1930’s. A search for the patent shows that Patent 2,153,262 was granted April 4, 1939. There were simple practical and novel improvements in extension tables in Patent 2,316,448 on April 14, 1943.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 10.58.31 PM

Patent art for the extension table.

I couldn’t find much on the Big Rapid Furniture Mfg. Co. of Big Rapids, Michigan other than by their own admission they are Manufacturers of Medium Priced Furniture. They obviously survived beyond 1939.


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